The action came after the conclusion of the preliminary investigation of Transaction Verification (TV)*, a global initiative by FSC® and Accreditation Services International (ASI) started in 2017. Its aim is to expose fraudulent activities and errors of FSC along the supply chains. The preliminary investigation covered nearly 1,300 FSC certificate holders (CHs) and seven global supply chains, with a focus on bamboo and charcoal.
In the Asia Pacific where bamboo is the focus, FSC investigated 591 certificate holders that had registered bamboo under their certifications. Among them, 22 were found making false claims (21 in China, one in Thailand), which led to six immediate terminations, 12 suspensions and four major non-conformities to be addressed within a short timeline.
“FSC owns the most credible forest certification scheme in the world and we are determined to uphold our supply chain integrity,” says Adam Beaumont, Regional Director, FSC Asia Pacific. “We believe this will set a good example, and send a message to those not doing the right thing that making false claims will not pass unnoticed and there will be consequences.”
The focus on bamboo comes off the back of other global investigations into false claims in charcoal supply chains, which led to 21 FSC-certified companies had their certificates immediately terminated or suspended. FSC will continue our effort and dedicate resources to perform transaction verification as well as using wood identification technologies to improve FSC’s ability to identify species and point of harvest through testing.
At the same time, we are working with ASI to streamlining and improving methods for conducting transaction verification. We are also looking into ways to improve our current Online Claim Platform**, potentially with more advanced technology, such as Blockchain.
If you have any suspicion or concerns on the compliances of your supply chains or others that claim to be FSC certified, please contact your local Certificate Bodies, ASI or your local FSC representatives. You can also quickly check whether a company is FSC-certified using their FSC License number FSC-C######) or Certificate Code (AAA-FM/CoC-###### or AAA-CoC-######) through the platform on info.fsc.org. Click here to see the demo.
*About Transaction verification
The revised Chain-of-Custody standard (FSC-STD-40-001 V3) has included a new criterion for transaction verification. The intention of this criterion is to ensure that FSC systematically investigates high-risk product types, species and regions, and limits the number of inaccurate transactions.
Transaction verification is a process of comparing and then verifying all transactions within a specific product type, group or region over a given time period. The verification can be done via the Online Claims Platform (OCP), where certificate holders will register, connect with suppliers, enter relevant data from their invoice directly to the platform (no financial information required), and the transaction is automatically verified once the suppliers validate their claim.
Alternatively, certificate holders can do a desk audit by filling in a downloadable spreadsheet template and send it to their certification bodies. They can also opt for an on-site audit, where transaction information is collected manually by the auditor for ASI to verify.
**About Online Claims Platform (OCP)
The OCP digitally connects certified FSC® suppliers and customers so that claims for FSC-certified products volumes can be swiftly confirmed accurately by both trading parties.